The offseason is a time for basketball players to focus on honing their skills, and it’s no different for coaches.
Many of the top coaches in the DMV will take part in the inaugural Elite Hoops Coaching Clinic at DeMatha Catholic High School this Saturday, including the leaders of the area’s high-profile programs.
“In any profession that you’re in, professional development is always something that can help you stay fresh,” DeMatha coach and clinic organizer Mike Jones said, “and in some instances help you advance in whatever field you’re in. So, this is just part of professional development; this would be just like a business person going to seminars or lawyers going to Bar Association meetings and things like that. I mean, it’s the same exact thing.”
Pre-registration for the clinic is $50, while walk-ups are $60. For staffs of three or more, there is a pre-registration cost of $40 per person. There is no available walk-up registration for groups. Saturday’s registration begins at 9 a.m. in the lobby of DeMatha’s Convocation Center.
Those in attendance will have a chance to glean some knowledge from a Who’s Who of local college coaches. Scheduled to speak are Georgetown’s John Thompson III and the area’s four newest head coaches: Maryland’s Mark Turgeon, George Mason’s Paul Hewitt, George Washington’s Mike Lonergan and Towson’s Pat Skerry.
DeMatha coach Mike Jones has organized the inaugural Elite Hoops Coaching Clinic. (Charles Matthews, DMV Elite)
Lonergan is scheduled to discuss Half-court Offensive Sets, Hewitt Pick and Roll Offense, and Skerry Transition Offense, while Turgeon and Thompson will speak on various team defensive schemes. Jones himself will break down Pressure Defense along with Skill Development and Team Building.
“When we get there, I think everybody’s going to kind of play it by ear,” Jones said, “’Cause you get in a situation like that and sometimes questions from the audience kind of direct where your demonstrations go.”
Jones – who has led the Stags to six of the past seven Washington Catholic Athletic Conference titles – said he and his staff began discussing the idea of hosting a coaching clinic back in the spring. Jones mentioned it on his Twitter account, and received instant feedback from fellow coaches up and down the East Coast.
Growing the clinic shouldn’t be a problem, as Jones said he’s already been contacted by college coaches interested in taking part next year.
“It was something we wanted to do,” he said. “We ran the Elite Hoops Summer League at DeMatha, and so just underneath that kind of same umbrella we’re going to be doing different things like this. So, you have a summer league, you have a combine, you have coaching clinics, you have things like that, and it’s just something to give back. We’re not trying to break anybody’s pockets; we’re just trying to do what we can at a very low cost to give either players or coaches the opportunity to get better.”
Jones said that despite that fact that he and his fellow high school coaches spend their respective seasons trying to beat one another, they never hesitate to share knowledge on the clinic circuit.
“We’re all on the same playing field anyway,” he said. “The same games I watch on TV, the other coaches watch. You have an opportunity to hear people speak, and the college coaches in this area are so willing to have any coach come and observe them and learn from them, so all the stuff that we get, everybody else has access to as well. There’s no advantage gained or lost by going to a clinic.”
Jones said he typically speaks at about two or three clinics per year, and attends them whenever he gets a chance – usually about two or three times a year as well.
“The game’s always changing,” he said. “People come up with clever and innovative ways to teach the same stuff, but in new ways. I mean, being able to go to something like this is just of a tremendous value. If you were in any other profession, you would do this because you want to stay on top of your game, and basketball coaching is no different.”
Contact Marcus Helton at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @MarcusHelton